PAX Unplugged is in the rear view mirror now and that pretty much marks the end of the major convention season, so lets see what we can get this week on Kickstarter to boost our spirits. First up is the next game from Piecekeeper Games and that is Gearworks, a card based puzzle game for up to four players. In the game you will be laying out cards onto a grid in order to gain parts and build contraptions which are worth points at the end of the game. The grid you are placing cards in have some rules though, you can only have one color per column, and the numbers have to be in ascending order going down the row. There are also some rules on gaining sparks based on the card you place, and these sparks give you special abilities like placing over cards or playing a second card. After you play you will rotate gears to indicate where you placed cards, and then acquire parts based on gear orientation across the board. And it’s these parts that build the contraptions, which at the end of the game are worth points and will win you the game. While this sounds complicated, if you have played Sudoku before you will find the rules similar and easy to pick up. So if you are looking for a puzzly card game requiring a bit of mental umph, check out the Kickstarter page.
Next is the latest in the long line of storage solutions for board games, and that is the Boxthrone. What sets this system apart from others it two fold, first is it’s all metal construction, making it tough and durable. The second is that the system is meant to house a single game on each shelf by making shelf height highly adjustable so you can fit one game in each slot, helping reduce box damage from too many other games being stacked on top. It also includes a fair bit of customization in that you can mix and match how you set up the shelves to be able to fit however many, and however oddly shaped, games you want. They even have the option of adding clear acrylic shelves if you want to display miniatures or other items along with your game. Thus if you are looking for something more than just another Kallax, check out this Kickstarter today.
From the makers who brought you Dragoon we have another game from the folks at Lay Waste Games, a social deduction game based on time travel called Human Era. In the game humans have finally discovered time travel, and like usual someone uses time travel to screw everything up, now it’s up to you and your friends to fix it. There are three teams you might play as, the humans who are trying to fix history, the robots who want the chaos so they come to power, or the cyborgs who play for both teams essentially. After everyone is dealt their identity cards the captain will then roll the die to see what era you will be traveling to. Once there they will pick a team of players for everyone to vote on as the ones who try to repair time. If the vote succeeds then the players will pass cards to the captain, if the vote fails then a random card is placed. Based on what cards are showing on the board at the end of the round will determine the score. You will do this rolling, voting, card placing process for ten rounds, and at the end of the 10th round the final score determines who wins. For the humans to win the score has to be 4-6, for the cyborgs to win the score has to be 3-5 (which means they can win WITH the humans), and for the robots to win the score has to be 2 or lower. There are other rules that go along with the game, but suffice to say, if you are intrigued by social deduction games, check out this Kickstarter project.
And finally we have a new engine building card game similar to Chain Reaction called Space Race – Interkosmos. This game is all about the space race, and so each player is playing a different country trying to make their way into the cosmos and explore it. How you will do this is through blind bidding and engine building with your cards, and cards you acquire from the main row. In each round there will be a display of cards up for auction, you will bid on these cards using control cards, each with a type and value associated with them. Win or lose that is the only time you get to use the cards to choose wisely. Once winner are determined then the cards are added to their tableau in front of them, and this is where the engine building happens. On each cards are four different lines, that as you put cards next to each other will form a string of actions that happen whenever you activate that line. This is the second part of the control cards you use because after bidding, you then use the card to activate a line on your cards to take those actions and hopefully explore space and get more cards. In the end, whoever has the best space agency and has explored the most impressive stellar objects will be the winner. There is much more to the game including a campaign mode, so if the games sounds interesting, be sure to check out the Kickstarter page.
If you’re interested in history, set-collection, captivating artwork, and a unique hand-management experience, you may want to check out Museum – now seeking funding on Kickstarter. Designed by Olivier Melison and Eric Dubus, Museum approaches a simple, elegant design with high production value and layers of player conflict and depth to keep choices fresh and interesting. The exceptional Vincent Dutrait has outdone himself, having illustrated over 180 beautiful artifacts from history that players will be pondering over as they curate their own museums of antiquity. Players will be gathering artifacts from the corners of the world and being careful to choose which to display, as opponents nip at each other heels for the items in storage and public opinion can change the value of the more precious stash. As described on the campaign page:
“Museum’s rules are easy to learn, making it an ideal game for families and younger players. However, it also contains some subtle nuances that more veteran gamers will be able to challenge themselves with.”
The set-collection and end game scoring of Museum are impressively simple, but it doesn’t take long to find that the real draw of the game comes from the player interaction rather than the goal. From the start, players are drafting cards, denying options from one another, while having to be careful not to open up new opportunities inadvertently. The only cards that are safe are in a players display or in their hand, as all cards in the discard are available for purchase as well. This adds a twist to the colloquially known “rest action”, making it not just a means of pacing and collecting yourself, but it also allows you to block other players from accessing previously discarded cards. This, along with the shifting market and public information, creates a deeply tense social experience.
Museum has a carefully crafted touch to it which shows through in more ways than one – the rules (which can be found on the Kickstarter page) are very clean and concise, the graphic design is top-notch, and the amount of extra content on offer is also praise-worthy. Judging squarely on what’s presented, the hand-management reminds me of games like San Juan, having to be careful how to buy cards and with what, mixed with a simple structure and tension like the more recent Century: Spice Road. All of this makes a game that I’m certainly going to keep my eye on after this article is published. If you are also interested in Museum, be sure to check out their campaign page for all the information and announcements.
Moa, a successful Kickstarter Project from APE Games and Martin Wallace (A Study In Emerald, Steam, Brass), is a territory control card game in which players control tribes of New Zealand birds. Each player holds a hand of 9 cards dictating their actions, and players can play as many cards on their turn as they like, but these 9 cards must last for 7 rounds. Additionally, each round only two territories on the board can be manipulated. Players score points for area control, but can also sell their territories to the invading mammals when they lose control. Each tribe of birds has unique abilities; The Eagles are fearsome warriors, the Kiwis respected and honored by their tribe, the Moreporks are mysterious mystics, and the Pukeko can spread far and wide. The Moa, as the leader, has all these abilities and tries to hold the tribes together. Moa features gorgeous art from Vincent Joubert (Via Nebula), and plays 3-5 players at 20 minutes per player.
UltraPro Entertainment has three new games due for release this January.
Fightin’ Words from designer Mike Elliot (Dice Masters, Thunderstone) is a variant of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, in which 2-6 players bet on who can make the largest word. Five face up cards are common to all players, with a secret two card hand held in reserve. Cards also have western themed “suits” which can be collected for tokens and bonus points. The first player with seven or more of one token type triggers the end of the game, and the most coins wins the game. Humorous “Wanted Posters” dictate special scoring for each round.
Shadow Blocks has players putting together three dimensional tetris like pieces, trying to create an object which matches the printed shadows as seen from two angles. Challenge cards with shadows come in three different difficulties, and the game contains enough blocks for 4 players. Shadow Blocks comes with 20 blocks, 72 challenge cards and 4 player boards.
Zircles is an abstract game in which players put magnetic triangular pieces onto a board, trying to complete circles of their color. Complete you own circles or sabotage an opponent; the most points from completing circles wins the game. Zircles comes with both solo and two player rules.
Check out more details about these games on the UltraPro Website here.
Word Forge Games is looking to make a big splash with their reprint and update of a award winning dice game, D-Day Dice 2nd Edition. This takes the original game and updates it, streamlining setup, updating the rules, and also giving the game a graphics overhaul. In the game you are soldiers storming one of several different battle fields, and on your turn you will be rolling dice to get resources in the form of gear, courage, troops, elite troops and more. You will also have the option to advance along the battlefield, but to do so you have to have enough “resources” to be able to make the trip and not be completely eliminated. But you also can’t just sit back and collect what you need in a leisurely amount of time, you can only spend a small number of turns in each zone so you need to get what you need and get moving forward. Make it to the objective and survive a full turn there and you win.
Also of interest is that in addition to the base game, they are also funding an expansion called War Stories. This expansion gives you more of what you expect from the game along with the addition of legendary units, servicemen, war stories, and components for a 5th player. The war stories aspect of the expansion essentially gives you random starting conditions and on-going effects that will change how you have to play each scenario. Servicemen are special troops that join your squad and have die faces on their card, allowing you to discard that card in order to get the shown die faces. Legendary units are special units that were actually at the battles in real life that you are simulating, each coming with their own set of cards giving you a fresh new challenge for each map. So if you are looking for an award winning dice chucking solo (or cooperative) game then give this Kickstarter a look.
A note for the 1st edition owners, they also are offering an upgrade pack to update your first edition game to a full fledged second edition.
Rob Daviau and Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks announced the forthcoming release of Betrayal Legacy, based on the Betrayal at House on the Hill game at PAX Unplugged today. Betrayal Legacy will be released under the Wizards of the coast Avalon Hill brand. Betrayal Legacy is scheduled to be released in Q4 2018.
Rob Daviau helped create the original Betrayal at House on the Hill in 2004 while working full time for Hasbro. Risk Legacy was the first of Daviau’s Legacy games and created while he was still at Hasbro. They were followed by his designs of Pandemic Legacy, Seafall, and Pandemic Legacy Season 2, none of which were Hasbro releases. While Daviau was off perfecting the Legacy concept Betrayal was also growing, receiving the Widow’s Walk expansion in 2016 and a Dungeons & Dragons re-theme as Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate in 2017.
Betrayal Legacy will take the concept of the original betrayal game, exploring a haunted mansion, and add permanent changes and a multi-game story arc that define the Legacy concept. At Pax Unplugged it was announced that the new game will feature a prologue and a thirteen-chapter story that will take place over multiple decades. Players will represent members of a specific family, with some characters aging within the story arc and possible family descendants making appearances.
About Legacy Games
Legacy Games are games where player choices permanently alter the state of the game. Alterations the game might include placing stickers on cards or the board, permanently destroying game components, opening sealed game packages, and more. Legacy Games follow story arcs that result in the changes taking place over a campaign resulting in a copy of the game that cannot typically be reset as a new game at the end of the campaign. To fully play through a second campaign of the same game requires the purchase of a second copy of the game.
Pandemic Legacy was the second Legacy game released, and currently is the highest rated board game on boardgamegeek. Aside from the popular acclaim it received on the site, it was also the winner and nominee for many awards, including:
Both Eric and The People ranked it as the best game of 2017. Tom, Eric, and The People have all placed Pandemic Legacy on the list of the Top 100 Games of All Time.
In 2016 Codenames won the Spiel des Jahres, popularizing word based spy games. In 2018 Iello will release Decrypto by designer Thomas Dagenais–Lesperance, and artists Fabien Fulchiron, NILS, Manuel Sanchez. Decrypto places two teams pitting against each other to correctly interpret the coded messages their partner is trying to send them while at the same time cracking the code of the opposite team.
In Decrypto two teams face off against each other. Each player has a screen with places for four words, numbered 1-4. A single word card is placed by each number. Players on your team see your four starting words, while the opposing team does not see your words.
In round one, each of the teams has one team member that takes a code card that shows a three digit code made up of a non-repeating set of the 1, 2, 3, 4 digits from the starting screen, e.g. 4-2-1. Only the one team member with the code card creates a three word code to get their team to try to guess the code. “For example, if the team’s four words are “pig”, “candy”, “tent”, and “son”, then you might say “child-mouth-tail” and hope that your teammates can correctly map those words to 4-2-1.” If your team does not guess correctly they get a black mark of failure. Two black marks and the team loses.
Following your team guess, the opposing team will note what the clues were for the opposite team and what numbers they corresponded to. In future rounds the opposing team will also have a chance to guess your numbered code without the advantage of seeing the original words under the screen numbers. If they guess correctly they receive an interception token. Two interceptions and a team wins.
The game continues until either a team has missed guessing their own clue correctly (losing the game) or intercepts twice (winning the game). The game plays with 3-8 players aged 12+ in around 30 minutes.
Box contents will include:
- 2 super cool screens
- 48 Code cards
- 110 Keyword cards
- 4 Interception tokens
- 4 Miscommunication tokens
- 50 Note sheets
- 1 Sand Timer (30 seconds)
- 1 rulebook
Decrypto will hit stores frequented by spies and game-players in the first quarter of 2018.
Following in the steps of Asmodee, Passport Games along with GTS Distribution have announced an exclusive deal to only distribute Passport Games product through GTS. This means that anything released by Passport Games Studio, Funforge, Splotter, Granna, Rule & Make, and ThunderGryph will now exclusively be supplied by GTS. The step was taken in an effort to better control the value of the product from publisher to retailer and to better support retailers, and hopefully it will be able to do just that. But since GTS is one of the largest distribution companies in the US, I don’t think anyone will have to worry about games disappearing from shelves. You can read more about the deal in the press release below.
After studying several changes in the North American marketplace in recent months, we are pleased to announce that Passport Game Studio products will be sold exclusively by GTS Distribution. We are confident that through tighter management of the distribution model, we can preserve the value of our products at the retail level for years to come. This arrangement is the best strategy for long term success for us and our retail partners as it ensures the highest possible value of products we represent in the marketplace, while delivering the best level of support throughout the entire inventory, marketing, and sales process.
Key changes for core hobby retail:
- Passport Game Studios will remain as a GTS brand, focused on bringing their partner studios’ games to the North American market.
- The GTS Distribution sales and marketing teams will handle all communications and services to hobby retailers for Passport-branded products moving forward.
- Passport titles in the U.S. are now exclusive to GTS Distribution, and will continue its international partnerships moving forward.
Passport’s partners and their titles include:
Funforge: (Tokaido, Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time)
Splotter: (Food Chain Magnate, Antiquity)
Granna: (CV Line of Games)
Rule & Make: (Hand of Fate Ordeals, T2029: Terminator 2 Board Game)
ThunderGryph: (Tao Long, Dead Man’s Doubloons)
Somewhere out there, a nerd is crying because I am about to talk about a DC Deck building release and Marvel Legendary release in the same article. Anyway, first of the two releases I will be talking about is the upcoming DC Deck Building Game: Confrontations. This is a stand alone game and plays similar to the Rivals set where it was Batman vs. Joker, but expands the roster on both sides and expands the player count up to 2 vs 2. On the heroes side you will be able to choose from Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or Zatanna, and on the villain side you will have your choice of Lex Luthor, Circe, Ocean Master, or Felix Faust. You can even combine this with the Rivals set to expand the options and gameplay. You can read more about the upcoming release on Cryptozoic’s website, and look for it on store shelves towards the end of the month.
The second release we have is from Upper Deck for Marvel Legendary, and that’s Marvel Legendary: Champions. This set takes it’s heroes and cards from a very recent addition to the comic book universe, specifically the Champions series which debuted at the end of last year. This set will bring in a selection of younger heroes with a more cooperative and less violent bent to them. You will see the return of the keyword Versatile, as well as the addition of a new keyword, Cheering Crowds (yes it’s two words but work with me here). The cheering crowds mechanics allows you to return a bystander you rescued to be able to activate that card a second time, opening up new options for gameplay. There are also lots of new strategies to be had with characters like Viv Vision being able to rescue bystanders while recruiting. So if this sounds like something you want to add to your Legendary collection, look for it on store shelves in early 2018, and you can check out Upper Deck’s website for more information.
Battle of Golems is a new crowd funded programming game recently started on Indiegogo. Aiming for a younger audience of 8+, Battle of Golems uses programming and robotics concepts to direct Golems in battle on a grid board. Cards dictate concepts such as loops, subroutines, and conditionals, while representing them in traditional flowchart form. 2-4 players do battle in 10 rounds, while adhering to the structure and unique obstacles of a chosen level from the scenario book. Battle of Golems takes concepts from popular programming games, such as Robo Rally and Robot Turtles, while making them both more accessible to children, and more applicable to the world of robotics programming.
Battle of Golems is expected to deliver in March 2018. See all the details, read the rules, and check out the Print and Play on the Indiegogo page here.
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